Monday, June 18, 2007

Our True Friendship

Jun. 18, 2007

Dear blog readers,

My best friend that I have mentioned so often, along with myself, have decided to reveal our special friendship and make it known. I hope you enjoy reading about how we met, how we became friends, and where we see our friendship going in the future. We've really put our thoughts and emotions into writing this. Her name? Mariah! God bless you all.
Sheila's View:

How we met

Mariah and I met on a tiny little forum online, specifically designed for Christian youths (and hence called ‘Christian Student Chat Forum). She came to it because, I, as the administrator of the forum, had my Mom post a little about it on one of her home school groups online. Mariah’s Mom responded to it, and Mariah signed up. Some of you may have been members, and probably never noticed that Mariah and I were slowly becoming closer and closer friends. This is due to the genius of the ‘Private Messaging’ system on forums nowadays. Early on, we mostly conversed about forum matters, as Mariah was one of the Moderators on the board, but even then, I think I felt that she was special; always willing to review what she had done, and make sure that things were all in order as they should be. I sent a private message to all the members, and received back from a search for prayer requests, this, by Mariah: “You could be praying that I will know what needs to be my first priorities. I know that God is first but what I need to do next. Such as school, piano, cleaning, crafts, etc.” It is rare to find someone so willing to examine her life, and these earliest encounters set a precedent for what we would discover in each other.

How we became friends

It is really sweet now, to look at all those messages, and mull over how much we shared with each other without knowing each other’s face, or where we lived, or what our families were like. We just connected. This is what I said to her, and is exactly how I felt: “I may only know you from online, but other than my parents and God, you really are my closest friend.” Neither Mariah, nor I, had any close friendships, and were longing for someone to fill the empty hole in our hearts into which only a friend of like mind could fit. Gently moving us closer and closer together in mind and soul, God showed us that he had an answer to our prayers for friendship, and it was staring us each in the face. What a blessing! In September of 2006, we chose to become accountable to each other. “Why don't the two of us keep each other accountable in the things we're working on?” I asked. Mariah’s quick response, 38 minutes later was so lovely; I now had an accountability partner! We even did a 5 day fast from a few things, and learned so much about Christ and each other, as we focused on reading His word and praying. God had a plan!

What our friendship looks like now

Come late November 2006, our Moms found each other again on the home school group of before, and discussed our friendship, and decided to let us share pictures, addresses, phone numbers, and all manner of anything we wished. We’d already become so close at this time, that it was hard to imagine that we didn’t even know exactly where each other lived! It was so much fun to share pictures of our area, our house, each other, and everything! Blessing me continually, we began our new journey of contacting each other through email rather than private messaging, because I, along with Mariah and our other fantastic moderator; Maria, decided that the forum needed to close for a while. Still in existence, the boards lie dormant until such a time as someone has the time and space to resurrect it. What the few other members of the forum didn’t realize, was that it had served its largest purpose. First of all, it had encouraged several young people to closer walks with Jesus, and was great fellowship while it lasted. Always the most important reason, however, was that Mariah and I had found best friends in each other. The time had come for the rest of us to part ways for now, and for Mariah and me to grow closer and closer together. Now we email usually more than once per day, and phone each other frequently. I can name all the members of her family, she can name mine, and we know each other’s faces by heart and each other’s personalities instinctively. For Christmas, I received a perfectly lovely hand-crocheted scarf, (which inspired me to learn how to crochet!) and for my Birthday a beautiful hand-sewn skirt, all from my best friend forever: Mariah

Where I see it going in the future

What does the future hold? This summer, Mariah is traveling to Canada so I may ‘meet’ the one I know the best. We’ll see each other face to face for the first time ever, and the biggest HUG will be given! Can you imagine? It really is a fantastic miracle. Maybe next summer I’ll see her down there, maybe not, but wherever, or however life leads us, our hearts hold fast to one another. Really and truly, I am blessed to have a friend like Mariah. We may have differences, even vast ones, but our love for God, and our quest for friendship was the key for this amazing story. God bless you all, and my prayer is that you may find a friend as close to you as Mariah is to me.

Mariah's View:

How We Met

Sheila and I met on her forum, Christian Student Chat Forum. I found Sheila’s forum because my mom signed me up for Sheila’s e-letter that she wrote bi-monthly on interesting subjects such as hurricanes, motion, and the North Pole. That led me to find out about her chat forum that I decided to join. I had always wanted to join a chat forum and I was excited to find one that looked safe and fun. For about the first six months that I was a member on the forum I just chatted with Sheila and the one other consistent member on the forum, Maria. We talked about our school, posted prayer requests, recipes, and played forum games. We chatted about almost anything and everything! In September of 2006, Sheila sent a personal message to all of the members, asking if there was anything going on in our lives that she could be praying for. I was struggling with some things so I replied and asked Sheila to be praying for me to get my priorities straightened out. My life had become really busy and I felt like everything was in a jumble. I feel like that was our first of many conversations that was more than just ‘chatting’.

How We Became Friends

A chat forum...that would have been one of the last places that I would have ever thought I’d find a best friend, but I did! After I had sent Sheila my prayer request we began sharing our struggles with each other through private messaging. That is when we began to realize how alike we were. We were both struggling in many of the same areas of our life such as humility, committing on the inside, and spending quiet time with God every day. When we began to see how alike we were Sheila suggested that we keep each other accountable, which I thought was a great idea. It may seem impossible for people to keep each other accountable when we had never actually ‘met’, but we did it! We were both hungry for a Christian relationship, for someone with whom we could share our feelings with and that’s just what God gave us! So, through private messages we constantly asked each other how the other was doing. I loved being able to share with Sheila my joys and obstacles that I had overcome. And even though it may sound strange, I also loved being able to share my shortcomings and sorrows. I never felt like Sheila was judging me which was one of the things I loved about her! Friend..........What a beautiful word!

What Our Friendship Looks Like Now

In November of 2006, Sheila’s mom contacted my mom and they discussed our friendship, after which they decided to let us share with each other anything we wanted! I had a great time sharing pictures of myself with Sheila. Neither of us looked like what the other had imagined. It was wonderful to finally be able to put a face with the one I knew so well! That is when we started contacting each other through emails instead of private messages. It came at the perfect time because not long after that Sheila, Maria, and I, decided to close the forum. I was sad to see it go, it had provided me with fellowship, encouragement on my walk with Christ, and the wonderful friends that I had in Sheila and Maria. But I also knew that Sheila and I were starting a beautiful new chapter in our friendship. We now email each other frequently and we also talk on the phone. We gave each other a gift for Christmas, which is when I received a beautiful hat. I love the cards and letters that Sheila has to written to me. It is special being able to hold something that I know Sheila has touched. They shall always be in my ‘special box’.

Where I See It Going In The Future

I will be traveling by myself on my first plane ride ever to visit Sheila this summer. When we will ‘meet’ for the first time ever! I can hardly wait and I still find it hard to believe sometimes that this is actually happening! I am constantly thanking God for giving me such a wonderful friend. It has helped me tremendously. We still hold each other accountable and encourage each other on our daily walk with Jesus. Can you believe it? I am counting down the days until we finally ‘meet’. We already know each very closely but I can’t wait to visit Sheila. To see the little things, such as a smile beginning to spread across her face, I’ve seen pictures of Sheila but a lot of them are posed so I want to see her from all different angles. I want to see more than what can be shown in picture, like the sound of here laugh! It is such a beautiful story that only God could plan. May you all be blessed as much as I have!
This is only by God's sweet grace. Have a blessed Summer!
In Christ,

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